With wins in the first three games of the four-game set in Atlanta, GA’s Turner Field, the Washington Nationals improved to 5-0 in the Braves’ home this season and 11-1 overall against their NL East rivals in 2016.
The Nationals, powered by a three-run home run by Bryce Harper in the fourth and a two-run blast by Chris Heisey in the sixth, took a 6-4 lead into the eighth inning, but the Braves rallied, tying it up at 6-6 after a rain delay, and winning it in the tenth on a walk-off home run by Jace Peterson. 7-6 final.
Here’s how it happened:
Gio Gonzalez worked his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the Braves’ second, then singled to left-center to start the third, lining an 0-2 sinker from Joel De La Cruz into the gap.
A walk and HBP followed as the Nationals loaded the bases in front of Daniel Murphy, who grounded into a force at second, but avoided the double play, 1-0.
Bryce Harper jumped on a first-pitch slider in the next at bat and hit a three-run blast to deep right field to make it a 4-0 game. Harper’s 22nd of 2016.
It’s hot in Atlanta, but @Bharper3407’s bat is hotter. #OnePursuithttps://t.co/2yVZ8JDOnj pic.twitter.com/8yxW1Jodtp— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 21, 2016
Gonzalez walked the first batter he faced in the home half of the third, however, and a single and double followed as the Braves quickly cut the Nationals’ lead in half, 4-2, on a two-run, two-base hit to left by Nick Markakis.
An error on the throw home allowed Markakis to take third base, and he scored on a fly to center field by Matt Kemp when Trea Turner dropped the ball trying to get it out of his glove, 4-3.
De La Cruz issued his second walk in six innings to Ryan Zimmerman with one out in the top of the sixth and Chris Heisey followed with a liner to left that kept on going until it reached the seats, 6-3 Nationals on Heisey’s 8th of 2016.
Joel De La Cruz’s Line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 102 P, 68 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
Anthony Recker doubled with one down in the Braves’ sixth, lining a 1-1 fastball from Gonzalez to left field and he scored on a grounder to second by Jace Peterson when Daniel Murphy stumbled making the play and threw from a knee, bouncing one by Ryan Zimmerman, 6-4 Nationals. Fourth error of the game by the Nats.
Gonzalez was up to 113 pitches in the sixth when Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker went to the bullpen for Yusmeiro Petit, who finished off the inning.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.2 IP, 6 H 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 Ks, 112 P, 68 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Petit retired the Braves in order in a 10-pitch seventh and came back out for the eighth and gave up a leadoff home run by Matt Kemp on a 1-1 slider that Kemp crushed. 6-5 Nationals.
Jeff Francoeur singled in the next at bat and Petit threw one over first on a bunt by Anthony Recker. Fifth error of the game for the Nationals.
An intentional walk to Jace Peterson loaded the bases with no one out before a rain delay interrupted the game ...
Blake Treinen took the mound when play resumed at 5:32 PM EDT, and got a 6-4-3 DP, but the Braves tied it at 6-6 when Francoeur scored on the double play.
It was still 6-6 in the when Jace Peterson hit a full-count fastball from Shawn Kelley to right for a walk-off winner. 7-6 Braves to avoid the sweep.
Nationals now 73-50
- In today’s Washington-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: While the Atlanta Braves still hold a 112-102 advantage in the all-time series with the Washington Nationals after last night’s loss, the Nats are 32-10 against the Braves since 2014.
- The Nationals were 11-1 against the Braves this season, 6-1 in D.C. and 5-0 in Atlanta after winning the first three games of this weekend’s four-game set.
- Atlanta was trying to snap a seven-game losing streak in this afternoon’s series finale.
- Washington’s 73-49 record after last night’s win gave the Nationals the second-best record in the majors, behind only the Chicago Cubs (78-44).
- The Nationals also rank second in run differential on the season at +146, behind only, again the Cubs (+215).
- In a bonus “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Bryce Harper is 10 for 25 (.400 AVG) with three doubles, eight walks, a home run and seven runs scored... since returning from a few days off for neck issue on August 14th.
- Trea Turner is 18 for 47 (.383 AVG) with four doubles, two triples, two home runs, five steals and 14 runs scored in his last 10 games.
- Daniel Murphy started the series finale with the Braves leading the NL in AVG (.348), SLG (.613), OPS (1.003) and multi-hit games (47).
- Nats’ catcher Wilson Ramos started the day on Sunday leading all MLB catchers in AVG (.324), OBP (.371), SLG (.531) and RBIs (67).
- In today’s Atlanta-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: After going 2 for 4 with a walk last night, Braves’ outfielder Ender Inciarte was 47 for 137 (.343 AVG) with 26 runs scored and a .385 OBP... in 34 second-half games.
- Gio Gonzalez threw 6.0 scoreless innings against the Braves in his only other start vs Atlanta before today’s outing.
Nationals now 73-50